“Unfortunately, in the digital world we now live in - where anyone can have a website, sell their garbage on Amazon and eBay, and make whatever claims, commitments, and guarantees they can dream up - far too many consumers, customers, and clients are led astray and away by their lies.”
—Howard Tullman, investor, advisor and Inc. Magazine columnist
Trust is at an all time low and for those that purchase software or services for their organizations, this presents a challenge.
According to one association executive that will remain nameless, she got burned by buying third-party software and services and now just defaults to in-house. If you can’t trust what someone is selling, then do it yourself.
This is a nice philosophy but for many things it’s totally impractical. If you plan to build your own CRM or AMS system, for example, it will quickly become over budget, outdated and inadequate. But what about more simple and straightforward services like video?
Having some video resources in-house makes a lot of sense. Equipment is affordable and the skills can be learned. In an age when the quality of the production values means less than the message being delivered, having folks who may be less skilled in production can still produce useful content.
On the other hand, for tentpole videos – those videos you expect to have a long shelf life in a very prominent place, such as your homepage – you probably still want to seek out those highly skilled professionals who have spent years figuring out all the little details that add up to create magical results.
How do you find these experts? Referrals are a great way to find resources you can trust. Asking folks in your network to recommend vendors for particular projects is a great way to find pre-vetted experts who have a track record of completing successful projects.
Video is the most important content type online, by far. People watch more, share more, engage more, understand more and act more when video is in the content mix. But video is expensive when outsourced and traditional video production is slow all the time.
Too many organizations spend too much time and money on the production of one video, only to see it get little traction and views. Does that sound familiar?
We need to make 10x the number of videos at 1/10th the time and cost.
The way to do that is with content co-creation, which is the process of using your members, customers, partners and employees to help you create your content. By getting your members to make videos for you, you solve two problems at the same time. First, you get a lot more content, faster and with less resources. And second, your community will trust these videos much more than the ones you produce yourself.
You simply can’t co-create content with your community, at scale, without help from software. The logistics, legals and quality issues are too much to manage without.
What we’ve built at Gather Voices is software that walks your community through the process of co-creation. You select the use cases and the prompts and Gather Voices AI-enabled technology checks a users lighting and sounds, provides talking points, sets time limits and has them record a video on their own device. The software then deals with the legal issues – so your organization owns the video content – and then sends the video right back to you. On the backend, you have a set of tools that make it easy to edit, brand, caption and share videos, without needing a video editor or expert.
When we first started at Gather Voices, potential clients had to take that leap of faith. How do you know if it works if you are the first one to use it? But today, with 150+ clients, Gather Voices has two things you need to make sure the software you purchase will deliver for you – case studies and references.
Case studies have real world examples from clients. What was their challenge? Why did they choose to use us? What was the outcome? When you have one case study it may be suspect, but when you have dozens, maybe there’s something to it?
When a software product is new, there is of course risk. But that risk can be mitigated with contractual arrangements and level-setting up front. You should speak to your account executives about what you hope to achieve and what success looks like. Ask them what part in that process your team needs to play so you understand what level of investment to expect.
While some skepticism is warranted, there are amazing opportunities to increase your success using third-party tools. Do your homework, but don’t let being burned in the past keep you from achieving ambitious goals for the year.